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Well written Tom. Those early teams had something very magical. I don't know if I will ever follow a team as passionatley as I did those teams. I always enjoy thinking back to those years when you write about them. Thanks!

Jim Crotts

What about Muggsy Bogues? He was a fun player to watch and an all-around nice guy.

Basketball fan

It's definitely not the same going to a Bobcats game as it was going to a Hornets game. The Hornets fans were into the game and it was exciting and fun even if they were losing. The Bobcats games (only been to one) seems to be more a social event and most of the crowd's not even in the game.



Double your comments on Kenny Gattison. I was such a fan in the early years that I went to summer league games! Kenny Gattison, a new recruit, stood out in the crowd. He was a man among boys. He was so reliable and played hard every game. The Bobcats need to clone him (although Okafor has many of the same qualities). Dell Curry, Mugs and even Rex Chapman could be so entertaining and so disappointing. None of the three could play defense, but it was hard to take your eyes off them when they played. They were INTERESTING, something the Bobcats lack, except for Gerald Wallace. Even Johnny Newman had his moments. And Kendall Gill and Alonso were the scary ones -- brooding and troubled. All in all, the games were highly entertaining and Shinn did run the place with a real feeling for the fans.



Great article and insight! But... No mention of Mugsy or Bobby Phils in a 20 year recap of the Hornets?

Hub Justice

What? No mention of Rex Chapman and Muggsy?

terry jinks

What about Kelly Tripuka? He looked like a porn star but had the heart of a lion!


I remember the scoreboard graphic of a guy in a trenchcoat and a guy dribbling a basketball. All of a sudden, the guy jumps out of the trench coat and steals the ball, and we see its a poorly animated graphic of Muggsy Bogues! Speaking of the scoreboard, how about when it fell? I remember going to Hornets games as a kid, getting autographs from Akeem Olajuwon and Buck Williams. I remember getting an autograph from Suns' point guard Kevin Johnson, and that he asked me a math problem before he would give me the autograph. Its no surprise he was elected mayor of Sacramento on Tuesday.

I will always support the Bobcats and any other local teams, but the Hornets were indeed something special. I can never cheer for Ray Allen because of his heartbreaking play with the Bucks as they eliminated the Hornets from a chance to play in the Eastern Conference finals. Steve Martin is my Vin Scully. What if we had kept Kobe? Oh the memories.


great article. even though I no longer live in Charlotte, or even the U.S. for that matter, the Hornets will always have a special place in my heart.


As Jim Crotts said in an earlier post, the games are not the same anymore. Bobcat’s games seem like a social circus. There is no fan unity and excitement. It's a forced fed team for sure. The Hornets on the other hand were our team. They essentially put Charlotte on the map many years before the banks did. The beautiful colliseum, the teal and purple themed colors, the Hornet logo along with the players and fans created something so wonderfully passionate that it was a visceral feeling. These were great times. But nothing great last forever – right?

mr. layup

how about clinton wheeler? now that was a guy!

Clt Native

Great article. Boy do I miss the Hornets! The first season was spectacular. It was THE place to be in Charlotte on game nights. The fans' enthusiasm could never be matched again. I remember the Hornet "noise meter"--if the place got loud enough, the big Hornet would light up. Not only do I miss the Hornets, I miss Charlotte the way it used to be. Now those were the good old days!


How about the noise o meters! Those were sick! I have so many great memories. But the best would have to be Zo's shot. The collective noise in the Hive reached a new decibel level that I have yet to hear again!

Ed Wallace - Mr ShowPro's

I spent 4 years working the Hornets from the court to the Crown Club.

I recall seeing the first bucket scored by Tripuka in franchise history and he jubilation of the crowds win or lose.

It was a time of pride to just have a NBA Team for your city. New arena, new team, learning as we went along on how it all works.


Some additional notables or not, Vlade Divek, George Zidek, Brad Lohaus, BARON DAVIS, Glenn Rice, Hersy Hawkins, Arman Gilliam, PARISH! Man, I remember them all, had season tickets and loved every minute of every game. I could care less about the BobJohnsonCATs.


I think the loudest I ever remember it being in the Hive was during All Star weekend in 1993 (I think it was 1993). At some point during All Star Saturday night, relatively new Super Hugo had just done some trampoline-assisted dunks and he climbed up to where he was standing on the rim and started waving an American flag. I think the entire building was screaming and cheering. And yes the Alonzo fallaway 19-footer to knock Bird, McHale, Parrish and the Celtics out of the playoffs was also a great moment.

Ken V

Nice trip down memory lane. Those were great times. Do you remember the guy who camped out on the Longhorn billboard on Independence until they won? Also, the fat guy who came out during time outs and did the sommersaults on the court.

The problem is that the Hornets sold out. That area may not have had the luxurious boxes, but it was full of fans. It was also the easiest place to get in and out of and get to of any arena I have ever been to and I go to A LOT of sporting events around the country. Don't get me started! In fact, I didn't vote for McCrory based on some of the decisions he made regarding buidling a new arena. . . . . for the Bobcats!

That first playoff win was one of the greatest nights ever.

The Hornets were great. We were on our way to being a real sports town had they stayed and been here along with the beloved Panthers. Of course, Jerry Richardson is a class act and I disagree, George Shinn was not. He was pretty scandolous and a good friend of mine died in conjunction with one of George Shinn's most immoral acts.

Anyway, so much for old times. I have never been to a Bobcats game and have no plans to go anytime soon. The whole league has changed, and not for the good.

Thanks for the memories Tom.


Old Days

I think we need to remember why we loved the hornets/players. Hornet basketball began before the "glamourization" of basketball. Before the "thuggery" of the NBA creeped its head in. The players now a days forget that it was the love of basketball by these players that made us love them. Now a days it is all about the contract, endoresments, the "whos car has more bling". The entire NBA seemed to be much more humbled, that is what we loved about the hornets, beacuse a humble charlotte could relate...

I hate Shinn

Here is the age old question: Why did the Hornets keep their name? I am not sure why George Shinn wouldn't rename the team to the NO Voodoo. If he really is sorry for how things went, why can't we somehow get what the Browns got when they aquired a new team. All the original records, jerseys, and logo...Replace the bob'scats with it, and start a new. Obviously the Bob "equal opporunity" Johsnon experiment didn't go as planned for Charlotte, the NBA, or Bob Johnson. Time for Plan B


As a 35 year old native Charlottean, I grew up with the Hornets. Every play, every game. There was a time in this city where everything revolved around them.
I've loved the Panthers ever since 1995, but it will never equal the Hornet days from 1988 until 1999...
Good thing I have a copy of "Hornet Hysteria" Now only if I could find a VCR to watch it.
And yes, Steve Martin is my Vin Scully as well...hearing him takes me back. I MISS THE HORNETS.

M. Duffy

Wow, bringing back some major memories, Tom. I can never forget how excited I was when my dad scored season tickets from his work and we'd truck on up to the Colesium and contribute to those many years of attendance records.

I'm trying to pull for the Bobs from up here in Baltimore, but Mr. Johnson and the lack of community involvement (from what I read and hear) makes it tough. I can root for a loser on the court as long as the organization is committed.

Teamless in Seattle

Y'all need to get past dem Hornets and be glad you got a team. They have the basics to be pretty decent once they become confident in Larry Brown's system...

T. Joyce

I remember Dr. K. Tim Kempton who was a real crowd favorite. It was an event every time you walked into the area for a game. The team had heart and the fans knew it. I really miss them.


Yeah, and the Hornets were actually wanted by the people...maybe thats why people were in the games, unlike the Bobcats. You have to remember, the Hornets were welcomed by the people of the city...the Bobcats were pushed on the people of the city.

Pat W.

M.Duffy- THATS RIGHT! We have a team, lets talk about them, lets praise them, not the Hornets. Hornets are gone, Cats are in. Maybe if the media had POSITIVE things to say about them more people would want to get involved.I think the whole team does a great job considering every time they pick up The Observer there is some nasty headline talking about how bad they did.Like today, Hornets staff comes into town to find our paper saying how much they are missed and how much better it was when they were here. Ridiculous!

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